By Ryan Reed, NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver
We have had a couple of rough weeks with a broken part in Kentucky and a poor-handling car in New Hampshire. Your luck can change so quickly in racing it’s unbelievable. We had a really fast car in practice on Friday in New Hampshire and then on Saturday morning it was like we had unloaded a completely different car for qualifying. It’s hard not to be frustrated when things like that happen, but we know we have to turn that frustration into drive to make the car better for next year and next week.
Switching gears back to heat racing again this weekend will be interesting. We haven’t had a heat race format in over a month or at a track as big as Indy. We really need to gain security in the Chase and this weekend is a great time to do that. While we would love to have a win, gaining some points is definitely a huge goal.
Aside from the racing, Indy weekend is super important for us because our sponsor, Lilly Diabetes, calls the city home. Lilly Diabetes is located on a beautiful campus in downtown Indy, which is only a few minutes from the track. Lilly is giving race fans a chance to celebrate the Lilly Diabetes 250 a couple days early by hosting the Brickyard Block Party in Downtown Indy this Thursday, July 21st from 4 – 8 p.m. The event is free to the public and will take place on the West block of Georgia St. in downtown Indy. My Roush Fenway Racing teammates and I will be there from 6 – 7 p.m. signing autographs. There will also be live music, pit stop demonstrations, a racing simulator, food and a performance by American Idol finalist and fellow diabetes advocate, Crystal Bowersox. It should be an awesome way to celebrate NASCAR coming to town as well as all Lilly Diabetes is doing for Indy and everyone living with diabetes.
After Indy, we head back to Iowa. We have really high expectations for that race after just having raced there in late June. We ran in the top 10 all day and there’s no reason we can’t contend for a win this time. I’m also excited about Iowa because we have a group of 20 motorcycle riders who work for Lilly Diabetes joining us for the race. They are from around the country and are riding their bikes to Iowa Speedway while raising money for the American Diabetes Association. I can’t wait to meet them and hear all about their trip. Some are coming from as far as Denver and Tucson. I think we can share some stories about driving long distances – while I’m usually driving in circles they are the true warriors out there on the open road.
Only nine races until the Chase starts. Now’s the time to get all you can and that’s just what we’re going to do – starting with this weekend.